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N.C. Politicians Reactions to Bush's Address on Iraq

Members of North Carolina's Congressional delegation and other state politicians react to President George Bush's address to the nation on Iraq, in which he announced gradual troop cuts.

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Senator Richard Burr, R-N.C.:

"I welcome the President's decision to begin drawing down U.S. forces in Iraq based on the advice of our generals and the success of our troops in ridding Iraq of foreign insurgents. Like all Americans, I want our troops home as soon as possible, and I believe the best way to bring stability to Iraq is to continue the fight against al Qaeda and reduce Iran’s influence in Iraq. Although long-term success in Iraq depends ultimately on the Iraqis themselves, our success in Iraq will define the security of our nation for generations to come."

Representative G.K. Butterfield, D-1st district:
"I’m very dissatisfied with President Bush’s intention to stay the course in Iraq. He’s ignoring the majority of Americans who rightly wish an end to this war. We need to immediately begin redeploying our troops. We need to be making major steps, not continuing a policy of small steps that lead nowhere.

"At this point, the brave men and women of our armed forces have accomplished everything asked of them and they have completed all that is possible militarily in Iraq. There is an intractable problem on the ground in Iraq. The tensions between the sectarian groups are centuries old and our presence only exacerbates the hostilities. It is no longer a military problem, but one of politics and diplomacy.

"Congress must work quickly in a bipartisan way to forge a new direction that achieves a measure of stability in Iraq and shrinks the role of the American military. We must commit to ending this war and focus our nation’s efforts on fighting the real threats of terrorism around the world."

Senator Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C.:
"Our troops have made heroic efforts in Iraq, but the Iraqi government has made very little political progress to resolve the issues causing much of the conflict and violence. I urge the president to heed the sound advice of General Petraeus to begin a gradual draw down of our forces in Iraq. Scaling down our troops in a responsible manner will demonstrate to the American people that our commitment is not open ended and signal to the Iraqi government that it must achieve political reconciliation.

"I firmly believe that we must bridge the political gap that exists between the differing policy positions on Iraq, find common ground on a set of shared principles and work to bring our troops home with honor as soon as possible."

Former Democratic Senator John Edwards:
"This week - as we will forever - we remember those lost on September 11th. And this week, Washington refocuses on Iraq. But the question of Iraq is separate from September 11th – as it has always been, whatever George Bush would have us believe.

"Likewise, supporting our troops and pursuing a failed war are not the same things – whatever George Bush would have us believe.

"All Americans honor the incredible sacrifice of our troops. They have done everything asked of them with courage and resolve. Now we should bring them home.

"They are policing a civil war, and the only way to end that civil war is for both sides, Sunni and Shia, to take responsibility to end it by agreeing to a political solution. And the only way to force them to take responsibility is to withdraw our troops – starting now.

"Unfortunately, the president is pressing on with the only strategy he has ever had – more time, more troops and more war.

"In January, after years of evidence that military actions cannot force a political solution, the president announced a military surge to force a political solution. In May, he vetoed a plan to end the war, demanded more time to show the surge could work, and Congress gave it to him. Now, after General Petraeus reports the surge has produced no progress toward a political solution, what does the president want? More time for the surge to work, when we know it won't.

"Our troops are stuck between a president without a plan to succeed and a Congress without the courage to bring them home.

"But Congress must answer to the American people. Tell Congress you know the truth - they have the power to end this war and you expect them to use it. When the president asks for more money and more time, Congress needs to tell him he only gets one choice: a firm timeline for withdrawal.

"No timeline, no funding. No excuses.

"It is time to end this war."

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